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June 21, 2017

Announcing News Match 2017: $2 Million Fund Will Match Donations to Nonprofit Newsrooms

This piece was co-authored by Tom Glaisyer and Jennifer Preston at Knight Foundation

We believe that journalism is essential to building informed and engaged communities, and that a healthy democracy requires a robust and independent press. For the last decade, as the digital disruption of the traditional business model for journalism has led to deep cuts in newsrooms across the county, nonprofit news organizations have filled critical gaps by providing vital news and information to communities, delivering investigative and beat reporting with pioneering models.

The future and mission of nonprofit journalism has never been more important as trust in the news media is at an all time low and people are searching for reliable news in their social and mobile streams. Today, the Democracy Fund and Knight Foundation welcome other funders and supporters to join a new matching gifts fund to support nonprofit news. Democracy Fund and Knight Foundation are pledging $2 million in 2017 to kick off a campaign to support nonprofit journalism, with an additional $750,000 committed to help nonprofit organizations build the capability and capacity they need to put them on the path of sustainability.

Photo by Hamza Butt, used via creative commons

Photo by Hamza Butt, used via creative commons

The new fund builds on the success of last fall’s Knight News Match, which helped 57 nonprofit news organizations across the country raise more than $1.2 million in matching donations from small donors. This year’s effort significantly expands the number of newsrooms eligible to participate and increases opportunities for both place-based and national foundations to support the matching gifts program.

The objective of this fund is to support nonprofit newsrooms delivering local, beat and investigative reporting. To be eligible to participate, nonprofit newsrooms must be full members of the Institute for Nonprofit News in September 2017. The program will begin in the fall so that the matching gifts program can be used as a way to reach new donors and appeal to recent donors during the critical end-of-year fundraising season.

To support the matching gifts program and help put nonprofit news on the path to sustainability, Democracy Fund and Knight have committed $750,000 dollars to support the most effective strategies, tools and best practices for long-term sustainability. These investments will allow the Institute for Nonprofit News, Local Independent Online News, and the News Revenue Hub to help local newsrooms expand their donor base, develop successful membership programs, and make the case for supporting journalism in their communities.

We believe this is a profoundly important moment for journalism in America. Our communities and our country need journalism that reflects and responds to the diverse needs of all Americans. In the face of the hollowing out of the traditional industry, nonprofit news sites offer a chance to restore local coverage and deliver expert beat reporting, but they require the support of their communities. Whether you can give five dollars or five hundred to the participating nonprofit news organization of your choice, News Match will double it.

More details about the fund will be announced in the fall. In the meantime, Democracy Fund and Knight Foundation will continue to invite additional partners to join the fund, especially community and place-based foundations who recognize that news and information is an indispensable community asset, and want to leverage the fund to further amplify support.

For questions about the News Match fund contact:

Josh Stearns at Democracy Fund, jstearns@democracyfund.org

Jennifer Preston at Knight Foundation, preston@knightfoundation.org